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  Emperor Dusan's Law Codex
cc 1349


Emperor Dusan's Law Codex was one of the first laws in the medieval Europe. By that very few European countries had the issues of everyday life and the state regulated by a legal document.

Some of those regulations are cruel for the standards of the 21st century but some are surprisingly fair and positive. Of course, we must bear in mind that this law with more than 200 stipulations was created in 1349 and somewhat reformed in 1354.

You can read some of the most interesting articles of this Law Codex right here or download it in its entirety when it gets available on this web site.




#61. On Coming Home From the Army: When a nobleman or any other soldier returns home from the army, and if such man is called to the court by a judge, let him rest home for 3 weeks and then he must go to the court.

#130. On the Army: If someone is in the army forces and destroys a church, that man is to be killed and then hanged.

#135. On the Army: The troops that are moving through the emperor's land, and if one troop comes into a village, the next troop must go to another village.



#24. If a church headmaster is found that he has taken a bribe, that man is to be beaten and kicked out the monastery.



#25. On Church Managing: Church is to be governed by His Majesty the Emperor and the Patriarch and the Court Chancellor.


     Customs Officials

#120. On Customs Officials: Customs Official is not allowed to distract or stop any man or to sell his goods for a small sum; everyone is allowed to walk through the squares or to move freely wherever one likes.



#166. About a Drunkard: If a drunkard hurts someone, spill one's blood but does not kill, an eye must be taken out and one arm must be cut to that drunkard; if a drunken man takes someone's hat or rips someone's clothes and disgrace a man, that drunkard is to be beaten with 100 sticks, thrown in jail and beaten again and then he is to be set free.



#185. On Dungeons: All dungeons, by my Faith, are to be held in the same way. No man is to be thrown in without proper written order.



#138. On Forgery: If it is found that in an official letter some false word is written, and other words have been altered in an other way than my Lordship had commanded, then that letter is to be destroyed and the whole property will be taken from the man who did that.

#20. On Graves: The people who are taken out from the graves with the means of sorcery and then burnt, that village who did that crime must pay 300 perpers, and if a priest was there, he is to be thrown out from the Church.



#160. On Guests or Travelers: If it happens that some things are stolen from a guest or a trader or a monk, or he is attacked by a thief and robbed, those robbed people are to come to my court, by my Faith, and my Lordship will pay for their loss and my royal Excellence will order to the local noblemen to secure and guard that road. And if even then a trader or even a Catholic is robbed, then a trial must be held, let those people say honestly what they had lost and those noblemen and guards who were obliged to guard that road will pay for their material loss.



#163. On the Judges: Every decision of a judge must be put on the paper and made in 2 copies - one for the court and the other for the man who has been set free.

#172. On the Judges: All the judges are to judge according the Law not being afraid of my emperor's mood or will.



#171. On the Law: If my Lordship writes a letter because We love or hate someone, or plead mercy for someone and it happens that the letter is opposed to the Law, the judges are not to obey that letter but they are to judge according the Law and justice.



#165. On Calumny: If a man is found who tells lies, calumnies and false statements in order to gain something, that man is to be punished as a thief and a robber.



#81. On Mountains: Those mountains that are our land of my Emperor's will, those mountains belong to the Emperor, mountains of the Church belong to the Church and the mountains of the noblemen belong to those noblemen - everyone must get what he owns.



#2. On Wedding: Noblemen and the rest of the population must not be wed without the blessing of their priests or those chosen by their church masters.

#3. On Wedding: Wedding feast cannot be performed without the religious ceremony, and if it happens that wedding was held without the blessing and permission of the Church, those people are to be separated because they haven't been properly wed.



#86. On Murder: If a murder happens, the one who started it is the guilty one, even if he is dead.



#28. On Feeding the Poor: In all churches the poor are to be fed like the Founder said; and if someone of the church officials refuses to do so, then that man is to be disgraced and thrown out from the Church.

#64. On a poor Woman: Poor washerwoman is free like the priest is.

#73. On a poor Woman: If a poor woman is not capable of speaking in front of the court, she has the right to have someone speaking in her name.


     Selling the Christians

#21. On Selling the Christians: The man who sells a Christian in a country of non-believers, his arm is to be cut and his tongue taken out.



#118. On Traders: The traders that are moving across the Emperor's land can't be distracted by a nobleman or any other man, trader's goods and money can't be taken away. Who has done this is obliged to pay 500 perpers.


     Violation of a Lady

#53. If it happens that a nobleman has taken a lady against her will, his both hands are to be cut and his nose too; if a common man violates a lady, he is to be hanged and if he takes his married companion against her will then his both hands and nose are to be cut.



#109. If it is found that a person uses sorcery and if it is proved to be an evil man, that person is to be punished according the Law of the Holly Fathers.


#59. On Traders: If a trader comes into a village but he is not taken in by the village master, and if it happens that the trader has been robbed, those village and its master must pay for that trader's loss.










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